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The study of South Asian music falls under the purview of ethnomusicology; whereas that of South Asian literature falls under South Asian studies. As a consequence of this academic separation, scholars rarely take notice of connections between South Asian song and poetry. Modernizing Composition
overcomes disciplinary fragmentation because it examines the history of Sinhala-language song and poetry in twentieth-century Sri Lanka. Garrett Field describes how songwriters and poets modernized song and poetry in response to colonial and post-colonial formations. The story of this modernization is significant in that it shifts focus from India’s relationship to the West to little-studied connections between Sri Lanka and North India.